Between excerpts from Bob Woodward’s new book, Fear: Trump in the White House, and the New York Times op-ed from an anonymous administration official, people are starting to get a chilling glimpse of what it’s really like inside the White House and just how little respect President Donald Trump commands from his staff. And with the release of Fear today, the coming days will likely only see even more revelations coming to the surface.
Case in point, one excerpt reveals the newly appointed National Economic Council director Gary Cohn’s “I’ve had a huge mistake” moment in his first meeting with then president-elect Trump. The former Goldman Sachs president was attempting to explain why the Federal Reserve rates would probably increase during his first term in office, but he was left “astounded” by Trump’s stupidity, according to the book.
Showing a “lack of basic understanding” about how federal debt works, Trump suggested that they should “just go borrow a lot of money, hold it, and then sell it to make money.” When it was pointed out that the solution to eliminating debt was not to borrow more money, Trump had an even better idea. Via Vanity Fair:
The president-elect offered a solution.
“Just run the presses—print money,” Trump said, according to Woodward.
Cohn suggested that would be detrimental to the fiscal and economic health of the U.S., since printing vast amounts of money is thought to lead to inflation. . . . Cohn also pointed to the federal debt ceiling, a statutory limit to the amount of debt the federal government can have outstanding. Even approaching the debt ceiling can be harmful to the stock market and U.S. economic growth.
But according to Woodward, Cohn’s message did not seem to connect.
“It was clear that Trump did not understand the way the U.S. government debt cycle balance sheet worked,” Woodward wrote.
Cohn has since resigned from his position in the Trump administration in a move that came as little shock to anyone. Before his time in the White House came to an end, Cohn was also apparently responsible for removing a potentially cataclysmic letter from Trump’s desk that he was planning to sign, which would have formally withdrawn the United States from a trade agreement with South Korea. Trump is said to have not noticed that the letter disappeared and never signed the document.
(Via Vanity Fair)